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Bona CEO Yu Dong Predicts Golden Age for Chinese Film Sector

Yu Dong - P 2012
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Yu Dong

Content, not money, is the biggest challenge going forward say attendees of the U.S.-China Film Summit.

Yu Dong, CEO of film studio and distributor Bona, has forecast a golden era for the Chinese film industry in the next decade and urged Hollywood talents to come to the world’s second-largest market to take advantage of growing opportunities.

Speaking at the 2013 U.S.-China Film Summit, Yu said the industry is flush with cash and that the challenges are actually on the creative side.

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“In the next 10 years it will be a big, big business. It’s an era for capital growth and box-office increases. The Chinese film industry is in a phase to test our film-makers,” he said.

This was the fourth U.S.-China summit, organized by the Asia Society Southern California, and it featured six panels of leading figures from the industry sharing their experiences and strategies on the China market.

Ivy Zhong, vice chairman of the production company Galloping Horse, agreed that currently it’s quite easy to find capital in China.
“Most of the time we are trying to find good projects, not only in China but from around the world. This year, the business is not just in China, it’s very international,” said Zhong.

Yu believes the Chinese film sector’s growth will continue to be rapid, with Hollywood as the model. “China will develop six or eight big companies in the next decade, and these companies will adopt a practice that will be very close to the way Hollywood acts, in order to stabilize the production stream,” he said.

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Yu added, however, that China still has some lessons to learn before it can reach its potential. “The Chinese movie industry will have to catch up with the growth of the [global] movie market. If you can become a leader in the Chinese industry, number one  or two or three, you will become the number seven or eight in the whole world,” he said.

Ye Ning, group vice president of Wanda Cultural Industries Group, said it was important to develop understanding and respect for different cultures.

“It’s the right time to find some co-productions between China and the U.S., and there are great opportunities for the culture business. We need to grasp these opportunities,” said Ye.

In September, Wanda, which owns AMC, recently announced plans for the world’s largest movie studio development, an $8.2 billion film studio in the coastal city of Qingdao, then followed it up days later with another multibillion-dollar entertainment complex
in Wuxi, especially positioned to directly compete with the upcoming Shanghai Disneyland amusement park.

Each market has its own norms on how to get things done, said Charles Coker, managing director of Dasym Media, who is executive producing Sam Fell’s action comedy Skiptrace, featuring Seann William Scott, Jackie Chan and Fan Bingbing, with Talent International Film, the filmmaking subsidiary of Zhejiang Talent Television & Film Company Ltd. “The trick is to find common ground,” said Coker.

China Summit chairman and CEO of Orb Media Peter Shiao said the event was no longer about the promise of China, but about how China has arrived. “Filmed entertainment in China is here in a big way and here to stay. It is a major force to be reckoned with and something that Hollywood needs to understand,” said Shiao.